Super pleasantly surprised

Just occasionally I get a nice surprise. And on Friday I was super pleasantly surprised. We headed to a restaurant located in a mall. Now when I think of restaurants in malls, my expectations are not that high. But this restaurant quite simply doesn’t belong in a mall. I’m talking about ‘Layali Aley’. Located on a corner of Gulf Mall, and accessible only from the outside. So you could argue it’s outside a mall instead of inside.

We have visited and paid for our breakfast at the SMBC. Our review is first hand informed and independant
We have visited and recommend Layali Aley

I knew nothing about the restaurant in advance. I was invited by my son to go with him, and he didn’t know much about it either until we got there. So this is why I had such a pleasant and unexpected surprise.


Layali Aley is quite simply opulent. Oozing with quality and comfort. And serving some of the best Lebanese cuisine I have ever tried. Their food is right up there with the very finest in Qatar. Not what you expect to find in a mall. And here is the real kicker… they are really, really, reasonably priced. Our three courses with drinks (excluding shisha) came to around QR 200 each. And trust me you would not mind paying it.

The soft furnishings mean you feel relaxed and unhurried. This is an environment where you can settle down and dwell. The service was attentive and informative, and quite educational as well for me. There is nothing rushed about Layali Aley. You do not feel like you are being processed, harvested and your table released as soon as possible.

Exceptional food

The food was exceptional. I’m not a food critic, so I’m not going to bore you with detail. I will simply say that the food was cooked to perfection, presented beautifully and burst with flavor.


After our meal we settled back and enjoyed some shisha. I’m not a shisha expert, but this was good shisha. If you don’t like smoke there are areas where you can escape it.

If you are in, or near Gulf Mall. I strongly recommend you set aside some time for Layali Aley. Take some good company with you, and be as pleasantly surprised as I was. Ask for Krishna, he will look after you.

Layali Aley: +974 44 56 82 45


Located in Gulf Mall

An Indian Restaurant worth discovering

I need to tell you about a really nice Indian restaurant Vic and I discovered near Abu Hamour. While out for a drive we both felt hungry and both fancied a curry. So we check our Entertainer App for a nearby Indian restaurant and Kababs and Kurries caught our attention. We decided that Kababs & Kurries would be a good choice as it’s located in 01 Mall and we could pop into the Mega Mart branch there at the same time.

Upon arrival

We arrived in Kababs & Kurries around lunch time. It was not busy with only two tables occupied. Staff were warm and welcoming and Veg & Non Veg Thali offerseated us in one of their booths that had the ability of becoming private by closing their curtains (which we did not). We were working our way through the menu pondering which two courses to order when I spotted an advertisement on an adjacent table for a lunchtime offer. Our Entertainer App had a voucher for ‘Buy one main course, get another main course free’. So we intended to order two main courses and share them, which is our normal modus operandi. But we decided not to use our Entertainer voucher and go for the ‘Non Veg Thali’ at QR 55 each instead (only available 12pm to 4pm).

After ordering we were invited to select which flavor yogurt drink we wanted to accompany our meal. I can’t remember what the options were, but both Vic and I went for mango. Whilst waiting for food, I started sipping away at my mango yogurt drink and considered that in other establishments I would have been charged around QR 20 for the drink alone. And it would have been worth it! I love yogurt drinks and this was delicious. We were also given nibbles and dips to keep us occupied while awaiting the main event.

Tastes as good as it looks

When our food arrived it looked amazing. And it tasted every bit as good as it looked. The meats were boneless and good cuts, cooked to perfection. The sauces were tangy and bursting with flavor. Vic had ordered hers less spicy than mine, and they got both of our spice heats spot on, so we could both enjoy our meal. Amazingly we both managed to finish our meals. But it was a while before either of us could leave the table as we were both so full.

Would we go again?

This meal went straight into my top 10 of favorite Indian meals ever. Was it worth QR 55 each? Hell yes! Would we go back? Absolutely, and we would be prepared to cross town to do it.

If the Thali is a bit more than you want to pay for a spot of lunch, then there is their ‘Executive Lunchbox’ to consider as well. We noticed one of the other tables enjoying Kababs & Kurries Executive Lunchbox, and that looked well worth a go as well.

Executive Lunchbox Offer
Executive Lunchbox


This morning I was told by a colleague that a restaurant located in Doha Downtown Hotel (Al Sadd) was offering a comprehensive buffet breakfast for just QR 25. I did not believe him so he took me there. And it’s actually true, a restaurant I had never heard of called ‘Haret Jdoudna’ located within the Doha Downtown Hotel is indeed offering a full buffet breakfast for just QR 25.  And it’s good!

This is McDonald’s prices for a real, proper breakfast, and it’s unlimited. Unlimited hot drinks and cold juices, cold meats, cheeses, hot selection of… oh you get the idea. Their live cooking egg station made me a delicious cheese omelette and yes that’s unlimited as well. No hidden charges for anything, not even water. All you will pay is QR 25. I could not believe it, and I had to keep checking that it was only going to cost QR 25. It was indeed only QR 25. And at the end I was so full I couldn’t even fit in one item from the selection of cakes, croissants and pastries on offer.


I was so impressed at the value being offered that I decided to write about it immediately. I haven’t blogged for a while, because nothing recently has been worth writing about. Until today.

The ‘Haret Jdoudna’ has a nice comfortable family feel to it

Yesterday I was in the Mövenpick Doha for breakfast. And I had a fabulous breakfast for just QR 75 each. I considered that outstanding value for what I had. And I would recommend their breakfast to anyone. The week before I was in the ‘Indian Coffee House’ where I paid a mere QR 23 per head for unlimited breakfast buffet. But they charged QR 5 for an omelette, charged for water and only gave 1 free cup of tea and charged QR 3 for each one after that. So I ended up paying more than QR 25 per head there but considered that outstanding value as well. But ‘Haret Jdoudna’ (which I cannot pronounce) have smashed the price barrier with their breakfast. Honestly, don’t take my word for it, you have got to go and try Haret Jdoudna’s breakfast for yourself. It’s a complete bargain. You will have a fantastic breakfast and pay just QR 25. I still can’t believe my breakfast this morning was only QR 25.


Here is a map to help you find the place. Oh, and due to the roadworks, parking may be a bit tricky at the moment. But you will find somewhere to park, and it will be worth it.

Doha Downtown Map

Breakfast is severed daily from 6:30am until 10:30am. On Saturday’s it’s served 6:30am until 1pm. And yes it costs just QR 25 per head.


Having recently had very bad experiences with both Pizza Hut and Domino’s, I was quite keen to try out a new kid on the block.

Located next to the Centro Hotel in Al Jazeera Street, Castello is a small restaurant with takeaway on the ground floor and a seating area upstairs.

It’s prices are good with a small salami pizza costing QR 30 and a large costing QR 40. Margarita pizza QR 24 (S) / QR 34 (L) and a further 16 other toppings available.

Quality is Good. However Trip Adviser only allow the selection of Average or Very Good (nothing in the middle). And it is neither of those, so to be fair to them I gave them very good as their Trip Adviser rating rather than average.

The bases are made from scratch and I believe are all thin and crispy. I ordered a large Seafood for QR 49. The base was perfect, the topping was good (not average and not very good) just good. Not enough basil or oregano for me, and although they asked me how spicy I would like it (I said Spicy but not too spicy) there was no hint of spicy heat to be found. But I still enjoyed it. Was it worth QR 49…. yes it was. Would I go back again…. yes I would.

I’m looking forward to trying their other more interesting toppings that are not on the big high street chain menus.


I have been hearing good things about the Indian Coffee House for quite some time. And yesterday I decided to pop along and give it a try.

Now here is the thing, I didn’t go and try one of their unlimited buffets that I have heard so much about. It could be that when I try one of those (which I am going to do sometime soon) I will consider them better value. But based upon yesterday’s visit I consider them overpriced.

For QR 24 I would expect my Mutton Biriyani to be exceptional, but I only found it OK. I have had as good as that at half the price.

Fish Mango Curry; The gravy/sauce was delicious. Loads of flavour with just the right amount of heat. I loved it. Except that there was hardly any fish in it. It was all sauce. And because of that I consider QR 22 to be too expensive.

Kashmiri Pulae Rice; Very nice, but once again a little on the expensive side.

Meal total for 2 people QR 80 including 3 x cans of soda water. QR 40 per head! Not worth it. I could have got much better value elsewhere.

Service was warm and friendly. Ambiance was very nice, and they do have plentiful private parking which is also very nice.

I will let you know what I think of their Breakfast Buffet once I have tried it. But I really do have high expectations of that, and I do believe I am going to be singing its praises once I have.

Last Thursday I was invited to take some photos at the award winning Italian restaurant ‘Antica Pesa’ located in the grounds of the Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel, on the Pearl Qatar.

One of the things I love about doing what I do, is visiting outstanding venues, meeting extremely interesting people and trying some exceptional food. Oh wait… that’s three things. Ah well…

Anyway, take a look at the images below and you will see what I mean 😉

Click on images to make them bigger

Last night saw the opening of the first Sawani Al Aker Restaurant, four years after Basem Al Aker launched his first Al Aker Sweet shop. His new restaurant chain brings to Qatar a wide range of Arabic cuisine under one roof. I popped along to snap some photos of the event and sample some of the fairs on offer.

Opening night of the first Sawani Alaker Restaurant
Opening night of the first Sawani Alaker Restaurant

As I expected the place was packed, but they seemed to manage to get the food out within a reasonable time considering the number of people and the fact it was their first night. The smell was amazing. They bake their own breads on site and use the same oven to cook meat dishes that are served in the same container they are cooked in. The shawarma and BBQ grill area were going flat out producing plate after plate of fabulous looking food. I only sampled some of their starters with some bread and let me tell you now it was damn good.

Opening night of the first Sawani Alaker Restaurant
Opening night of the first Sawani Alaker Restaurant

Of course, because Sawani Al Aker is right next door to an Al Aker Sweets, like me many people had their fill of savory and then went next door for their sweet. Those sat outside could have both delivered to their table.

Expect to see branches of Sawani popping up all over Qatar.

The Al Mourjan Restaurant located on the Corniche is quite literally one of the finest Lebanese Restaurants in the world

I’m not an expert on Lebanese food. But I know plenty of people who are, and they all tell me that the Al Mourjan is a world class Lebanese restaurant. And you can tell by all the awards on their reception wall, that experts think so as well. All I know is that I love going to this restaurant. I love their food, I love the setting and I love their award winning service.

We have visited and paid for our breakfast at the SMBC. Our review is first hand informed and independant

I have been going to the Al Mourjan for over 6 years now, and have never written about it. Last Tuesday Victoria and I were there again for what was meant to be a ‘pop in visit’. However as usual we ended up spending a whole evening there.


We are not very adventurous with our menu selection in the Al Mourjan. We know what we like, and we tend to order pretty much the same thing every time. A mixed hot and cold mezza with salad, then I always have the mixed grill, and Vic either joins me with a mixed grill or goes for their spaghetti.


For desert we always have the same thing as well. And I have no idea what it’s called (I told you I wasn’t an expert on Lebanese food). We describe what we want, and we always get the right thing. Whatever it is called (see photo below) it is to die for. And I have to hold myself back from ordering a second one.


The view from the Al Mourjan is absolutely gorgeous. And on Tuesday the weather was perfect. Not too hot, not to cold. And we just completely chilled out sitting on the waterfront admiring the view.


I can also strongly recommend the Al Mourjan as a somewhere to spend Qatar National Day. You get probably the best seat in the country to watch the firework display, and some fabulous food to go with it.

National day 2013 from Al Mourjan Restaurant
One of the best places to watch the Qatar National Day firework display, is the Al Mourjan Restaurant

If you haven’t been already, I strongly recommend the Al Moujan. Take friends and if you have family visiting you simply have to bring them here.

Yesterday I was invited by a friend to join him at the Sabai Thai Restaurant for their Saturday Brunch. The Sabai is located within the Westin Hotel on Salwa Road, and is a separate building in the grounds at the rear of the hotel next to the gorgeous pool area.

My first observation is an obvious one, the price. QR 175 including unlimited drinks. That is an amazing price. Now the food; You guessed it, the cuisine is Thai. And it’s really good. Need I say more?

Sabai Thai Brunch
Excellent Thai cuisine and unlimited drinks for QR 175 – Complete bargain

I only have one, yup just one tiny criticism, they kept running out of Dim Sum

Sabai Thai Brunch
They were unable to keep the Assorted Dim Sum tray in play.

Apart from the dim sum supply issue, everything else was spot on. The service was impeccable, the food was tasty and top quality and the environment really pleasant.

Sabai Thai Brunch
Nice setting at Sabai Thai

One thing I noticed is that a number of tables didn’t seem to be eating very much. Just a little here and there. However they were drinking plenty. At that price you can’t blame them. Just a handful of drinks and you have your monies worth right there.

Would I go back. DAMN RIGHT I WILL BE!!

How good can a burger be? My son and I popped along to the Village Restaurant Midmac last Thursday evening to try out their new Big Bite Burger. On the way to the restaurant we were discussing our favorite burgers and what goes into them. Among the ingredients we both agreed should be in a tower burger were an egg and a hash brown. big-biteAnd we were hoping that we would find these incorporated.

Having tried most gourmet burgers in town we were wondering how The Village Big Bite Burger would compare. After all the Village is not a renowned burger establishment. To be honest we were a little worried that we were going to be disappointed. But we need not have worried.

The burger is served in the Deli part of the restaurant. On arrival we ordered a Big Bite each and a nice bottle of sparkling water. While we were waiting the table next to us was occupied by three young ladies who also ordered a Big Bite each. So it would seem the burger is popular.

When our burgers arrived we were immediately impressed with their presentation. It is said we eat with our eye’s first, and these looked delicious. Along with the burger was a bowl of fries, a serving of coleslaw, a couple of fried onion rings on top and an edible arrangement of vegetables. It also comes along with a glass of mint cooler mocktail.

Big Bite Burger

Bri started to eat his with a knife and fork, but I decided I was going to eat mine the way a burger should be eaten, with my hands. I could just get my hands around it and hold it together in a way that would allow me to get stuck in. My eyes had not deceived me. This was a good burger. Plenty of flavor and the beef patties were delicious.

As I was enjoying my burger I observed that unlike other tower burgers, or even normal fast food burgers, my hands weren’t getting covered in dripping fat/oil as I eat. The patties are homemade and obviously made with good ingredients. It looks good, tastes really good and appeared to be…. How shall I say it… err… clean if you get what I mean. I don’t know if you could call it healthy, but it’s not too unhealthy. I didn’t feel too guilty eating it. And both Bri and I were impressed with the fact it had egg inside it.

Half way through his Bri ditched the knife and fork and switched to the hands on approach. He looked at me as if surprised, and announced “this is a good burger (paused), this is a really, really good burger”. He went on to say that he would definitely be returning with his friends to have this again.

The accompaniments were good. And we discovered the fries were in an edible bowl, so we both eat those as well. But we left the edible arrangements. For QR 55 this meal is an absolute bargain. And don’t forget that includes a mint mocktail which goes very well with the food. If you like your burgers we both recommend you give the Village Big Bite Burger a go.

The only thing we could think of as a possible improvement would be the addition of a hash brown in the burger. It may work, it may not. As it is, it’s already a great burger. But when I go back next time I will request the addition of a hash brown to see if it adds anything.

Home Made Safron Ice Cream

For dessert we had a cake each and a bowl of ice cream each. Well two bowls in Bri’s case. My ice cream was their home made saffron flavor. And that is now my new favorite flavor. Seriously you have got to try it. But dessert is not included in the QR 55 Big Bite Burger price.

The Deli in the Village is a lovely space with comfortable seating, excellent service and a relaxing feel about it. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and had a great evening out. Would we recommend it? Hell yes.

Having experienced their awesome Thursday Seafood Night, Victoria and I decided to return and try out the Tuesday Turkish Nights at the Village Midmac.

I will actually start in reverse by summing the night up as “Outstanding Value“. At only QR 145 per head you are going to be challenged to find this quality and quantity of fabulous Turkish food, in such a wonderful setting, along with the Village’s excellent service, anywhere in Qatar.

Medi Grill dressed for Turkish Night
The Village Midmac dressed for Turkish Night

Before I move onto the food, I just want to repeat again what I said about their Seafood Night which is also held in their Medi Grill section. One of the things I love about this restaurant is it’s spacious layout with plenty of space between tables and un-cluttered feel. And for their Turkish Nights they have dressed the restaurant and it’s staff beautifully to reflect the evenings theme.

Included in the fixed menu Turkish Night is a welcome drink and also either a soft drink or a bottle of water, which is served on arrival.

So the meal begins with a tasty Mercimek Corbasi soup (lentil soup with cumin and croutons). So, so tasty with just a hint of cumin. Learning from her experience on the Seafood Night, Victoria elected to only eat half of her soup, because she knew there was much more to follow. Something that made me very happy because I took over and polished off her soup for her.

Mercimek Corbasi Soup
Mercimek Corbasi Soup

Next came the starter. We knew there was going to be a lot, but when this arrived we didn’t think they were going to stop putting food on the table.

Turkish Nights - Starter

Ok here we go, there is Hummus, Acili Ezme, Patlican Salatasi, Cacik, Icli Kofte, Su Boregi, Turkish Bread, Lahmacun and Beyaz Peynirli Pide. I think that’s all of it.

Turkish Nights - Starter

Remember that there is only two of us, and there is still another two courses to go yet!

What a feast. For me the highlight was the Patlican Salatasi (eggplant salad) which was so tasty when eaten with the Lahmacun (minced lamb with tomato, pepper and onion). The Hummus was a little too garlicy for my taste, but Victoria enjoyed it. I was very surprised how much of this we managed to eat. Basically it was so nice it was difficult to stop. Something I knew we were going to regret when the main came out.

Turkish Nights - Main Course

When the main arrived the smell was the first thing I noticed. The aromas coming from the meats and rices was simply delicious. And when we started to eat Victoria commented that we didn’t need to travel to Turkey, Turkey had come to us.

Turkish Nights - Main Course

I was starting to fill up very soon. But the meats were just sumptuous and I kept going until the end, only leaving a little rice. The lamb chop was so good that I only had a little taste of it before Victoria decided she needed more (mine) and of course being a gentleman I let her have it (Grrr…). The chicken was full of flavor marinated with aromatic spices and was so tender it melted in my mouth. And of the three rices the orange one in the middle was my favorite with a lovely tomato tang. Now out of the two of us, 20170118_063945Victoria is the rice expert. And she loved the rice so much that she needed to get the secrets of cooking it from Chef at the end of the meal.

Victoria had met her match half way through her main course. So once again we were going to be taking home a pleasant reminder of the night to enjoy the next day.

As on the Seafood night, we decided that we were so full we would move to the Deli section and have a coffee (also included in the meal price) to wait for our food to go down a little before moving on to the dessert course.

Turkish Nights - Dessert

Traditional Turkish ice cream and baklawa. Actually being a light weight, Victoria had already announced that she was so full she was going to skip dessert. But once she tasted the ice cream, she couldn’t help herself and had to finish it.

As an added bonus for me, Chef decided that I simply had to taste his home made pistachio ice cream as well.

Home Made Pistachio Ice Cream

He wanted an honest opinion of his freshly made, home made pistachio ice cream, and I was only too happy to help. And my opinion was a big thumbs up. Instead of being completely smooth, Chef had added finely chopped pistachios as well. It’s what I described to him as the Ben & Jerry’s version of pistachio ice cream. As Ben & Jerry always have bits in.

Once again Victoria and I had a fabulous night. We have been made to feel so welcome in the Village Midmac, and it’s always so nice when the Chef comes to front of house to talk to his customers.

Chef Moiz & Me
Chef Moiz Executive Chef for the Village and Me having a selfi

I even got a selfi with Chef Moiz who is the Executive Chef at the Village Midmac. It’s the nice touches like this that make you feel so comfortable where you are dining, that you simply know you are going to be going back again some time soon.